The History Aptitude Test (HAT)

What is the History Aptitude Test (HAT)?


The Colleges of Oxford University use a History Aptitude Test (HAT) in the selection of candidates for all degree courses involving History.

This test, which aims to examine the skills and potential required for the study of History at university, gives us an objective basis for comparing candidates from different backgrounds, including mature applicants and those from different countries. It is designed to be challenging, in order to differentiate effectively between the most able applicants for university courses, including those who may have achieved or can be expected to achieve the highest possible grades in their examinations.

The History Aptitude Test consists of one question based on an extract from a primary source, to be answered in one hour.

Candidates are asked to offer thoughtful interpretations of the source without knowing anything about its context. The HAT is a test of skills, not substantive historical knowledge. It is designed so that candidates should find it equally challenging, regardless of what period(s) they have studied or what school examinations they are taking.

Candidates are advised to make arrangements to register and prepare for tests in good time. Full details of how to register are available here.

Candidates need to register with CAAT by 30 September in order to sit the test. 

If there are no test centres in your area or country

Becoming an Admissions Test Centre


HAT Overview and Skills Workshop


Past HAT Papers

As of 2018, the HAT changed from three questions to one. In all past papers before 2018, only question three will be shown. This is the equivalent of the post-2018 test.

Registering for the HAT

The Faculty of History is working in partnership with Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (CAAT) to administer the History Aptitude Test.  

Joint Schools

A number of our Joint Schools require you to register and take tests as well as the HAT, these are listed below: